Former Lightweight Champion Frankie Edgar Rubbishes Conor McGregor’s Claims About Saving UFC 222…

Conor McGregor made waves last week when he claimed to have to have asked to replace the injured Max Holloway at UFC 222 and face Frankie Edgar on short notice. The American’s coach Mark Henry and manager Ali Abdel-Aziz have both come out to criticise McGregor about this.

It’s the first time Edgar has spoken out on the subject. The former UFC lightweight champion is due to face rising star Brian Ortega in a title eliminator, in the co-main event of UFC 222. It’s a risky move on the part of Edgar, who is giving up a guaranteed title fight against Holloway to please fans who have already bought tickets to see him compete.

The American was a guest on Ariel Helwani’s hugely popular podcast, The MMA Hour. He spoke about his confusion about what McGregor and how there was no truth or meaning behind McGregor’s words. Edgar is known to be a very classy individual. While he was respectful, he didn’t hold back in setting the slate clean.

Crazy Talk

McGregor claimed that the reason the UFC didn’t allow him to replace Holloway was that they wanted to maximize the huge amount of revenue that would be guaranteed by his return. Now that Ronda Rousey has left for the WWE, McGregor is unquestionably the number one star on the books of the organization, despite being unreliable.

Edgar says that this is not the case and that McGregor is not telling the full story. Allegedly McGregor wanted to fight for a catchweight title, which in Edgar’s eyes was simply crazy talk. The prospective title would have been at 165 pounds.

“I mean, come on, there is no 165-pound belt,” Edgar said. “You know what I’m saying? I want to fight on the moon. You know what I mean? Come on.”

UFC President Dana White holds back Conor McGregor. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas, USA TODAY Sports.

No Defense

The Irishman and the UFC have both come under fire because he has yet to defend his lightweight title, despite breaking the dubious record of most consecutive days without fighting a challenger. Edgar was happy to speak about this. He said:

“He doesn’t want to defend his own belt. What, he wants to fight me? I mean, hey, that’d be great. That’d be great for me. Let’s be real. I’m not scared to fight anybody. Come on, I’ve been doing too long to be scared to fight anybody. I mean, if anything, that would be very good for me, to fight Conor McGregor.”

YouTube video

Classy Edgar

Being the genuine sportsman he is, Edgar was very pragmatic about the situation. He recognizes McGregor’s marketing strategy and respects that this form of self-promotion has got him to the pinnacle of the combat sports world. He said:

“I don’t know, I think Conor’s just being Conor, man. He’s the best at it, right? He’s the best at making news and staying relevant. I don’t mean relevant, he’s the most popular guy in our sport, this and that, but staying in the news cycle. He does it better than anybody, except maybe Floyd Mayweather.”

Well, that clears that up. Frankie Edgar will fight Brian Ortega in the co-main event of UFC 222 on March 3 in Las Vegas, Nevada. The new headline event will see Cris Cyborg defend her featherweight title against challenger Yana Kunitskaya.

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